Thrive by IU Health

July 08, 2024

Medical assistants advance their careers through IU Health program

IU Health Arnett Hospital

Medical assistants advance their careers through IU Health program

The Medical Assistant Certification Program (MACP) at IU Health, under the leadership of career coach and program manager Brandi Burgin, is an opportunity for medical assistants (MAs) to advance their careers from an MA I to an MA II since its inception in April 2017.

Launching a vision for success

Burgin’s journey with the MACP began with a compassionate vision to elevate the careers of MAs at IU Health. The program aims to provide a pathway for career advancement and personal fulfillment through a 12-week course instructed by Burgin.

“We created it to not only bring quality MAs to IU Health but also give them a reason to stay,” says Burgin, reflecting on the program's launch. “Through this work, we are standing on our commitment to creating an environment where team members feel personally valued, professionally invested in, and inspired by their work.”

Several graduates of the MACP have shared their experiences, highlighting the program's impact on their careers and lives.

Abby Villegas: MA II at IU Health Arnett Ophthalmology in Lafayette

Villegas, who has always been passionate about patient care, found the MACP to be a perfect fit.

“I chose this program because of my familiarity with it, and it was a good refresher for me,” she says.

The program’s structure allowed her to balance her responsibilities as a mother and a professional. Her certification brought pride not only to herself but also to her family, including her husband who celebrated her success with a special dinner.

Brandi Boardman: MA II at IU Health Frankfort Hospital

Boardman’s journey through the MACP was marked by personal growth and professional development. She appreciated the program’s guided structure, which included fun online flashcard games and practice tests. Boardman’s advice to prospective students is to reach out to peers and supervisors for support and to enjoy the learning process. She valued the program’s flexibility, which allowed her to work ahead and feel confident in her success.

Jennifer Shearer: MA II at IU Health Arnett Nephrology in Lafayette

Shearer transitioned from being an MA I to an MA II through the 12-week MACP. The program’s fast-paced nature and comprehensive curriculum helped her gain new skills and responsibilities. She appreciated the opportunity the program gave her to work on her coursework while on the clock for three hours per week. Shearer now enjoys more autonomy in patient care and finds her work even more rewarding.

Paige Vester: MA II at IU Health Cancer Center in Lafayette

Vester’s background in caring for veterans and her passion for patient care led her to IU Health’s Cancer Center. After working at the Cancer Center for some time, her supervisor recommended the MACP, so she could advance her career and help her fellow nurses even more than she was capable of at the time. She found the program’s focus on practical skills and real-world applications, like phlebotomy, particularly valuable. Vester’s advice for current and future students is to actively engage with the material by taking notes and using flashcards. The program’s supportive environment, combined with the encouragement from her supervisor and peers, helped her succeed.

A national exemplar

The MACP sets itself apart with an impressive track record. Burgin explains that it boasts the highest passing rate on the first attempt in the nation since its inception, making it a “national exemplar.” Other institutions look to IU Health’s model as a best practice to ensure their own success.

Holistic support for success

One of the key elements of the MACP’s success is its holistic approach to supporting its participants. Burgin emphasizes the importance of collaboration and creating a supportive environment: “MAs are incredibly skilled at putting their needs on the ‘back burner’ while helping meet everyone else’s needs. With the support of each MA’s leader, we collaborate on how to be most successful, remove barriers, and provide a safe space for the MA to hold their needs as a priority.”

Encouragement and inspiration

For medical assistants considering joining the program, Burgin offers words of encouragement: “Take the first step. Believe in yourself. You have a team of people around you who are ready to stand you up for success and be in your corner.”

Interested in becoming an IU Health medical assistant? Explore our current openings.